Uyanda Mbuli talks actors exploitation & new role on 'The Queen'
After a 14-year absence from acting, Uyanda Mbuli, pictured, returns to play a social worker in Mzansi Magic’s hit drama series, "The Queen".
The 41-year-old said she was grateful to John Kani for encouraging her to return to her passion when they were on the same flight from Ghana to South Africa.
“I was talking to him about his career and how he is representing us internationally. He asked me why I stopped acting and said, ‘You need to be consistent with acting because acting has longevity. You will take (on) different characters as you grow older.’
“And that engagement really inspired me go back to acting. I’m really excited.”
Following her interaction with Kani, Mbuli approached Connie Ferguson to discuss her renewed interest in acting.
As luck would have it, a new character was being introduced on "The Queen" and Mbuli fitted the bill.
“The opportunity of the character of Cynthia presented itself because they were looking for a social worker and Connie thought I would be appropriate for the role. And I took it,” Mbuli said.
Given the recent uproar over actors being exploited, bullied and abused in the industry, with Ferguson Films production coming under attack by former "iGazi" actress Vatiswa Ndara, Mbuli said her role as a manager at SABC had given her a good understanding of the commission and production processes of the different genres in television.
“I have solid information based on my experience at a very high level with the public broadcaster. I also produced my reality show Uyanda It’s On. So, I understand the available budgets within the market of certain productions.
“We also need to understand that In terms of what is happening in South Africa right now around the genre of entertainment.
“The channels that are giving the contract, which would be your DStv; e.tv and SABC, are they ready to create budgets which will allow actors to be paid those kinds of monies that are been thrown around on social media?
“The reality is that the production house is the catalyst between the TV channel and not only just the actors but also to the sound man, the cameramen, the directors and all of that. So they have to work within that budget to deliver what is required by that channel.
“I’m not saying that people that are not happy should not be raising the necessary concerns about their remuneration.
“Other people might not understand why she (Connie) has so many people on short-term contracts.
“That’s because she’s trying to create a platform for many people to be able to have a stepping stone in the acting field and grow.”
Mbuli said she was happy with the contract from Ferguson Films.
“I can tell you as a matter of fact that when I was given the offer it was the offer I was comfortable with, which is why I signed it.”
Mbuli made her debut on the small screen on Friday.
“I look forward to hearing feedback. And I hope viewers fall in love with her and welcome Cynthia into their homes.”